Comment & Analysis
Apr 16, 2014

Fear and Loathing in the Ussher Tower

Battling it out in the under-seated and oversubscribed libraries.

James BennettSenior Editor
Andrew Murphy for The University Times

It’s that time of year again. The clocks have gone forward (#grandstretch), the bow ties are packed away after Trinity Ball, and the guilt is upon us. It is exam time.

Exam time in Trinity however, is not like exam time anywhere else. It is at once a godsend and a torture. If you are one of those students that feels like you picked up a glass of red wine in October and are only putting it back down on the table now, then April is College giving you one merciful last chance to get your shit together. It is most unfortunate therefore, that the one month where you decide to read all the books is also the month when looking out the window makes your heart cry tears of pure gold for the beauty of the world.

But at least you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. From here on in, the libraries of this university will be packed with panicked students frantically trying to come up with a new angle on Madame Bovary, or learn the names of all the bones in the human knee. The only problem is, you need to sit down while doing these things. And there just aren’t enough seats. We are the top university in a modern European nation, and we don’t have enough seats.


We are the top university in a modern European nation, and we don’t have enough seats

First of all, let’s just pause and acknowledge how monumentally stupid this is. We can spend a hundred thousand euro on a new name and logo, but we can’t buy some more tables and chairs. Tables and chairs are two of the most basic pieces of technology that exist. They are pieces of solid material assembled in such a way as to allow you to sit down and read or write. They have existed for thousands of years. However, here at Trinity College, the University of Dublin, we do not have enough tables and chairs.

This lack of basic furniture is destroying our collegiate atmosphere. We should be helping and supporting each other in the stressful lead up to exams, but instead we become monsters who will step over the dead bodies of our friends for a desk in the Ussher. Soon, people will began arriving at the 24-hour room before dawn to secure a seat. And if you arrive in the Hamilton library after nine o’clock, you can forget about it. Levels of passive-aggression skyrocket. You will see people bitterly coveting unattended desks with books left on them, and then after a suitable time period elapses flinging said books from the desk and claiming it for themselves. It takes two to tango though, and we must acknowledge the disgraceful behaviour of those who take three-hour lunch breaks and expect their desk to be waiting emptily for them when they arrive back full of burritos and a begrudging resolve.

We become monsters who will step over the dead bodies of our friends for a desk in the Ussher

Without the immediate addition of more chairs and tables, Trinity will become a den of spite and one-upmanship. This is supposed to be an environment where people inspire and learn from each other. If we don’t even have a place to sit down and read a book without people flying into bitchy passive-aggressive rages, this cannot happen. All joking aside, it cannot be that hard for a world-class university to invest in some furniture.

Sign Up to Our Weekly Newsletters

Get The University Times into your inbox twice a week.